President's Message

From Sports to Business – Game-Changing Insight

Our July luncheon tackled the topic of the Business of Sport. Our guest speaker, Rod McGeoch enthralled our guests with tales and wisdom from his stellar career as a sports administrator, passionate Hunter Valley advocate and legal professional, including from his time leading Sydney’s successful 2000 Olympics bid.

I’d put quite a lot of time and energy into organising this luncheon, and I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to be unable to attend due to coming down with a truly legitimate case of man flu. The upside is, feedback from our members and guests was so varied and insightful, I’m delighted to share with you their direct comments made to me after the luncheon.

For Senior Vice President Clare Ferguson, inspiration came from learning about the key ingredients for coordinating the epic event that is the Olympic Games, particularly how to make it work for our country, when so many have failed before and since Sydney 2000. It also inspired us to get behind the bid for Brisbane for the 2032 games. Clare’s takeaways also included smarts about sponsorship (be rigorous in those terms and conditions!) and sage advice for Board members – being on a Board doesn’t mean you will agree with every decision, but choose your battles carefully.

Junior Vice President Stephanie Jordan learned a lot about the value of relationships and partnerships, as relevant for business as it is for events. Choosing partners who can add value or save costs, can literally make or break a business’ viability. For example, in the Sydney 2000 Olympics Telstra provided all the wifi connection in a new stadium at no cost in exchange for ongoing rights. It was millions of dollars saved.

Life Member Meg Purser reflected that the business of sport is an important part of our broader Hunter landscape. With our region’s growing reputation for holding world-class events against additional funds to build sport infrastructure, Rod’s presentation was particularly pertinent – and attracted representatives from most of the region’s peak sporting organisations.

Our August lunch is set to raise the bar again with special guests Trudie Larnach and Hennie du Plooy from Port Waratah Coal Services, sharing with us how to stay relevant in response to rising trends and customer expectations. Held on Tuesday 20th August, we’re anticipating a sell-out event, so please head to our website and get your tickets so you don’t miss out!

Finally, I recently had the opportunity to work with Everymind in promoting an important initiative for businesses across New South Wales – suicide prevention. In Newcastle, the rate of suicide is higher than the state and national average. Newcastle has been chosen to trial a program aimed at preventing suicide. It takes less than 1 hour and its free for people over the age of 18 living or working Newcastle. An hour spent can save a local life. For more information, please go to:

Craig Wellings | 2019 President